Picking Match Play winners is all about luck


It was only a couple weeks after I joined Golf Channel a year ago that the 'Golf Central' crew passed out brackets for a WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship pool. By Saturday I had the thing wrapped up, having named three of the four semifinalists and both Ian Poulter and Paul Casey correctly in the championship match. Steve Sands told me everyone in the newsroom was asking, “Who won again … Win, who won?”

Call it beginner’s luck. Although I spent time researching each of my picks, when it comes down to it, luck is no doubt involved when it comes to match play. If you’re a top 64- (or in J.B. Holmes’ case 66) ranked player in the world, you’re good. Almost all of the matches could go either way.

In Wednesday’s first 18 matches, six of them went the distance or extra holes. In the “Twitter” match of the day, defending champion Ian Poulter went down in 19 holes to Stewart Cink. Seven of the first 18 wins were upsets. Unlike the NCAA basketball tournament, here top seeds lose. And although it’s early, like Poulter, I’m pretty sure I’m not destined to repeat in our 'Golf Central' office pool.

When I filled out my bracket yesterday I asked Todd Lewis his thoughts on taking Matteo Manassero over Steve Stricker. His response, “Are you crazy? Matteo is going to be so nervous.” So I took Stricker…all the way to the championship match. And as luck would have it, the 17-year-old took down second-seeded Stricker, 3 and 2. While my bracket’s not completely dead, it came close on Wednesday. Against Stricker I picked Paul Casey to win it all, and he just narrowly escaped a Wednesday exit, going 19 holes against Richard Green.

To prove the point, a 'Golf Central' producer completed two brackets this year. One where she researched and made educated picks, the other where she flipped a coin. Not a shocker, her coin bracket is winning. Because seriously, when it comes to match play, it’s all about luck…these guys are ALL good.